5 tips on designing an open-plan space

Open-plan living is growing in popularity, and whether it’s in the home or the workplace, there are many benefits to having an open-plan space. In the home, an open-plan living area can bring the family together, encourage conversation and build strong relationships, and be an ideal space for entertaining guests.

There’s a certain art to designing an open-plan space, and when it’s done right, it can enhance your everyday life, making your home feel alive and spacious. Here are some of our essential tips for designing an open-plan space.

Image source: Raj Rana via Unsplash.


Define your spaces

With open plan living, it’s a good idea to have defined areas or ‘zones’ for each activity that will be taking places, such as a kitchen area for cooking, a dining area for eating, an area to work, and an area with sofas and chairs for relaxing. Each area should be independent, but at the same time, blend seamlessly with the other areas in the space.

Having defined areas should guide people through the room and create ‘flow’ throughout the space. We can use furniture to help define your spaces, such as ‘L’ shaped sofas, where the sofa's back creates a clear boundary. Patterned and textured rugs can also help visually separate different zones, as well as adding warmth and comfort to your space.

Image source: Kiran Singh via My Unique Home.


Don’t forget storage

An open-plan space can quickly get cluttered, particularly in a family home with young children. Built-in cupboards and shelves will enable you to store away items that are not in use easily. Ensure you have enough storage space in your kitchen as well, as this is an area that can quickly look messy in an open-plan living space.

You can cleverly use freestanding cupboards and shelves to help define zones within your open place space.


Use separate lighting in each zone

As well as having your general ambient lighting such as ceiling spots on separate circuits for each area, you should also include decorative lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting for each of your different areas that can also be operated on a separate circuit. This will give you full control of the lighting in your open-plan space allowing you to create different atmospheres depending on how you are using the space at the time.

A great example is using pendant lighting over your dining table to create a cozy atmosphere in the evenings.

Open plan kitchen dining area. Image source: Tamara Wibowo Architects via Arch Daily.


Consider installing underfloor heating

Keeping one large space warm can quickly get expensive, so if you’re planning an open-plan living area, it’s worth considering using an underfloor heating system for maximum efficiency. If you are thinking about installing underfloor heating, you will want to do this at the beginning of your project, along with your electrical installations.


Use color to create a sense of harmony

Use color to help tie your zones together to create one coordinated space. When choosing your color palette for the overall design, it can work well to include a little of your main color in each zone, even if it’s just in the accessories, to create a sense of harmony in the space.

Edwardian renovation. Image source: Homes to Love.


Airy, spacious, and versatile, open-concept spaces are a popular design choice. However, a successful scheme requires careful planning, whether you're designing a sociable hub for the whole family or multitasking set up in a small city apartment.


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Written by: Ines Tome

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